This profile contains Biden Administration nominations and appointments made at the U.S. Department of State.
Nominations and Appointments
Antony Blinken is Secretary of State. He was formerly a co-founder and Managing Partner at WestExec Advisors, LLC, a Partner at the private equity firm Pine Island Capital Partners, and Managing Director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. He served in the Obama Administration as National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden, as Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy National Security Advisor, and as Deputy Secretary of State. Before that, he was Democratic Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2002-2008, a member of the National Security Council staff from 1994-2001 during the Clinton Administration, and a reporter for The New Republic. He has served as Vice-Chair of the board of directors of Human Rights First, as a member of the advisory board of Foreign Policy for America, and as a member of the advisory council of National Security Action.
Sarah Cross is Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. She formerly served as Advocacy Director for the International Migration Initiative at the Open Society Foundations. From October 2016 through November 2017, Cross served as Director for Refugee and Migration Policy at the National Security Council. During the Obama Administration from 2008 to 2016, she served as a strategic planner at the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.
Nina Hachigian is Special Representative for Subnational Diplomacy. She was formerly Deputy Mayor for International Affairs for the city of Los Angeles, California. During the Obama Administration, she served as U.S. Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations from 2014 to 2017. Prior to that, she was a senior fellow and senior vice president at the Center for American Progress, and director of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy. During the Clinton Administration, she served on the National Security Council staff. She has been a member of the board of directors of the Pacific Council on International Policy, and the National Security Network.
In October 2022, the Washington Free Beacon reported that while at the Center for American Progress in 2013, Hachigian had participated in a delegation that met with representatives from the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation, a group with ties to the Chinese Communist Party, in order to discuss relations between the two countries. A report on the meeting proposed closer bilateral military ties, including “exchanges of military personnel.” In 2017, while serving as deputy mayor of Los Angeles, Hachigian met with the president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, which is also reportedly used by the Chinese government in order to promote its interests.
Bonnie Jenkins is Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. Jenkins was formerly the founder and executive director of Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS), a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and president of Global Connections Empowering Global Change LLC. During the Obama Administration, she served at the U.S. Department of State from 2009 to 2017 as coordinator for threat reduction programs in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation. Before that, she was a program officer at the Ford Foundation, counsel on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, general counsel to the U.S. Commission to Assess the Organization of the Federal Government to Combat the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and a legal advisor in the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. She is a retired U.S. Navy Reserve officer. Jenkins has served on the boards of directors of the Constituency for Africa, the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship, the Alliance for Peacebuilding, the Center for International Policy, and Foreign Policy for America.
Brian P. McKeon is Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources. He formerly served as Senior Director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania. During the Obama Administration, he served as Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense from 2014-2017, as Deputy Assistant to the President, Executive Secretary and Chief of Staff of the National Security Council from 2012-2014, and as Deputy National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden from 2009-2012. Before that, he served as chief counsel to the Democratic members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 1997-2009. He was a legislative assistant for foreign policy and defense to then-Senator Joe Biden from 1988-1995, and worked in the foreign policy office of Bill Clinton’s 1996 Presidential re-election campaign. McKeon also formerly served as an advisor for foreign policy at the Biden Foundation.
Monica Medina is Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. She was formerly an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and co-founder and publisher of the environmental e-newsletter Our Daily Planet. Before that, Medina was deputy director of the environment program at the Walton Family Foundation beginning in 2016, after serving as senior director of international ocean policy at the National Geographic Society. During the Obama Administration, she served as special assistant to the secretary of defense and as principal deputy undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Before that, she held positions at the Pew Charitable Trusts, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the International Whaling Commission. Medina is married to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.
Victoria Nuland is Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. She most recently served as a senior counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and as a distinguished practitioner in grand strategy at Yale University. From January 2018 to February 2019 she was the Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security. Nuland served in the U.S. Department of State as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs from 2013 to 2017, and as the department’s spokesperson from 2011 to 2013 where she worked closely with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She served as U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from 2005 to 2008, as Principal Deputy National Security Advisor to Vice President Cheney from 2003 to 2005, and as U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to NATO from 2000 to 2003. She has served on the board of directors of the National Endowment for Democracy.
James O’Brien is head of the Office of Sanctions Coordination at the U.S. Department of State. He was formerly a principal and vice chair of Albright Stonebridge Group. During the Obama Administration, he served as special envoy for hostage affairs at the State Department from 2015 to 2017. From 1989 to 2001, he held multiple positions at the State Department including senior advisor to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, principal deputy director of policy planning, and presidential envoy for the Balkans. He has been a member of the board of directors of the National Democratic Institute.
Ned Price is Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State. He was previously Co-Founder and Director of Policy and Communications at National Security Action. During the Obama Administration, he served as Special Assistant to the President on the National Security Council staff, where he also served as Spokesperson and Senior Director for Strategic Communications. Before that, he served as a senior analyst and spokesperson at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Prior to joining the CIA, Price was an associate at The Cohen Group. He has also served as a fellow at New America, and as a member of the advisory board of Protect the Investigation.
Wendy Sherman is Deputy Secretary of State. She formerly served as Senior Counselor at the consulting firm Albright Stonebridge Group, which she helped found. During the Obama Administration, she served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, where she played a central role in negotiating the Iran nuclear agreement. Before that, she was Vice Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group. During the Clinton Administration, Sherman served as Counselor for the Department of State, Special Advisor to President Clinton, and Policy Coordinator on North Korea. She was Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs under former Secretary of State Warren Christopher from 1993-1996, and before that was a campaign manager for former U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Director of EMILY’s List. She has served as Chair of the Board of Directors of Oxfam America, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She has been a member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Strategy Group, and the American Academy of Diplomacy.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield is United States Ambassador to the United Nations. She had led the Africa Practice at Albright Stonebridge Group since 2017, and was a Distinguished Resident Fellow in African Studies at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University from 2017-2019. During the Obama Administration from 2013-2017, she served as Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and before that as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources from 2012-2013. She also served as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia from 2008-2012, having been nominated by the George W. Bush Administration. She has served on the Board of Directors of the National Endowment for Democracy, and as a member of the Advisory Council of National Security Action.
Though Thomas-Greenfield was confirmed by a 78-20 vote in the Senate, some Republican Senators expressed concern over a speech she gave at the Savannah State University Confucius Institute in 2019, in which she described Chinese intervention in Africa as a “win-win-win situation” whereby China and the United States could promote good governance and the rule of law. She stated that China was “in a unique position to spread these ideals given its strong footprint on the continent.” Thomas-Greenfield expressed regret at her confirmation hearing, noting that she wished she “had not accepted this specific invitation,” and conveying her alarm “at the way the Confucius Institute was engaging with the Black community in Georgia.”
Uzra Zeya is Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. She was formerly President and Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance for Peacebuilding. During the Obama Administration, she served as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of State from 2011 to 2012, Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor from 2012 to 2014, and as Charge d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy Paris from 2014 to 2017. Zeya also served as a senior advisor at Albright Stonebridge Group in 2018, and as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress from 2018 to 2019. She has served on the advisory board at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, and has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.